Things to do in Rome

Walk the footsteps of gladiators with the Colosseum Underground tours

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Standing proudly in a little valley between the Caelian, Esquiline and Palatine Hills of Rome; the Colosseum has been an iconic symbol of Rome ever since its construction was completed in AD 80. What was once an arena for spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts and gladiator bouts to death, the Colosseum is now the most visited attraction in Rome.

One of the exclusive access zones in the Colosseum is the Underground, a space below the arena floor where gladiators would wait to be hoisted onto the floor. In this guide, we will look at how you can access the Underground Colosseum Tours when visiting the amphitheatre. Colosseum Underground tours and tickets have only recently been made available to public, offering you a chance to visit some of the lesser-explored areas of this Roman icon.

How To Book Colosseum Underground Tours & Tickets

You can access the Colosseum Underground either by booking a guided tour or by booking a spot with one of the few indepedent tour agencies who have the right to take you inside. Either way, you cannot gallivant in unaccompanied. Moreover, to gain access to the Colosseum Underground, you are required to purchase 2 different tickets - a standard ticket and a tour ticket. These tours have been designed to offer the best Colosseum experience, with access to the Colosseum Underground both at day and night.

Each Colosseum Underground Tour allows only 25 people in a slot and there are only limited tours each day. In order to secure a spot at a desired time, it is recommended to book Colosseum Underground Tickets online.

Colosseum Underground Tour Explained

Spread over two subterranean levels; the Colosseum Underground is a network of rooms, mechanical devices, animal pens and tunnels to neighbouring buildings. The 32 animal pens housed a variety of animals, mostly ferocious and hungry, and were led to the arena floor using ropes and pulleys. There were 36 trapdoors on the arena floor out of which the animals could be hosted. Other occupants of the Underground were gladiators waiting to fight, criminals waiting to be punished, and a gang of slaves who ran the entire machinery.

1The Arena Floor

The Colosseum Underground Tour begins from the Colosseum Arena Floor, also known as The Stage. This Stage offers a unique vantage point of the Colosseum, a view like no place else. This is a newly built area as the original arena floor was dismantled years ago, but entering through the Gate of Death and watching the massive ruins from here is a great start.

Colosseum - Arena Floor

2The Basement of the Colosseum

This is where all the action took place before the performances. In this elaborate underground network of tunnels, cages, and holding rooms is where the gladiators and animals were kept in anticipation of their “performances”. Since the original arena floor was destroyed, most of the basement is entirely exposed to natural elements, hence leading to corrosion. However, a good portion is still preserved and and relatively protected and the tours take through these areas. The lifts that took the animals and gladiators up may seem in surprisingly good shape, however they have been reconstructed to give visitors a feel of how it actually was down here.

Colosseum Basement floor

3The Third Ring

The Third Ring is located at the top of the amphitheatre and this upper level provides a fabulous view of the Colosseum as well as great views of the nearby ruins of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. This is the final stop on the Colosseum Underground Tour and happens to be the maximum one can get 'underground' at the Colosseum.

Colosseum top view

Advantages of Colosseum Underground Tours

Angels and Demons Guided Tours

  1. Say no to Waiting in Lines: The Colosseum Underground tours come along with a priority access to the gladiator's arena.
  2. Professional Guide:A professional guide will lead you through the history and secrets of the Colosseum. They will share fascinating stories about the gladiators and the ancient Roman empire's grandeur.
  3. Access to nearby attractions: In addition to the Colosseum, the Underground tour also grants you access to nearby attractions such as the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Learn all about Colosseum at night and how to get exclusive access to see the Colosseum under the stars.

Colosseum Underground Tour